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Half-decent, barely-fresh ‘Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness’ fails to find a point in its existence

Half-decent, barely-fresh ‘Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness’ fails to find a point in its existence

Half-decent, barely-fresh ‘Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness’ fails to find a point in its existence
July 16
14:30 2021

“More important question is, how the hell did zombies get into the White House?’

“And who’s behind it?”

In 2000, members of the “Mad Dogs” unit of the U.S. army are killed by insurgents during the Penmastan Civil War. Years later in 2006, evidence is discovered by Claire Redfield (Stephanie Panisello) suggesting bioweapons may have been used, while Leon Kennedy (Nick Apostolides) deals with an outbreak of zombies at the White House. Reuniting, the two find themselves entangled in a conspiracy involving surviving members of the Mad Dog unit, the U.S. government and international relations.

It’s a good time to be a “Resident Evil” fan. “Resident Evil: Village” recently released to acclaim from fans and critics, the 2019 remake of “Resident Evil 2” set a new high bar for the franchise and the heavily-criticized, unfaithful film series is set for a much more-faithful (and hopefully better) reboot this fall along with a separate live-action TV show.

Set in the canon of the games, “Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness” is an CGI anime series set two years after “Resident Evil 4” and reunites Leon and Claire in what is ultimately more of a political thriller in the style of  “24” than a stab at horror. Instead of a hostile metropolis or deceript mansion, the two investigate seemingly unconnected strands of terror attacks, suicides and government corruption.

If that sounds somewhat removed from the euro-gothic terrors of  “Village” or the lonely urban hellscapes of the recent remakes, that’s because it is. The timeframe of the show influences its style, which is more in line with the over-the-top action that defined the series from 2005 to 2012 or so. This, along with the focus on the geopolitical situation in the “Resident Evil” universe, will be what makes or breaks it for many fans.

Still, the characters who make it over from the games survive the translation mostly intact, with the voice actors returning from 2019’s “Resident Evil 2.” Panisello is good as Claire, though she doesn’t get nearly as much screen time as the character deserves. Meanwhile, Apostolides has actually improved here from his debut. While he wasn’t bad per-say in 2 and his voice really fit the young rookie Leon, the direction he received seemed to hamper him on any emotion beyond “Hey, wait!” Here, he actually gets Leon’s voice down closer to Paul Mercier (RE4, Degeneration) and Matthew Mercer (RE6, Damnation) and handles his transition to a more serious and confident security agent pretty well. The only critique for him is that his relatively higher-pitched voice can throw off fans who are more familiar with how Leon sounds in the movies and games that “Infinite Darkness” is set between.

The visuals are also mostly consistent in quality, though it enters the uncanny valley on occasion. The framing is also decent and action is kept comprehensible and mostly clean — shots hold just long enough, don’t shake too much and keep viewers grounded with the characters. A standout is the scenario presented in episode two: a submarine overrun with infected rats. The designs are actually a little freaky and the entire sequence is probably the highlight of the show.

While the show’s handling of its characters is mostly fresh, not everything is. The focus of the show is mostly the geopolitical situation in their universe, which has been explored previously in at least one previous game and the second animated movie.

That being said, this show is trying to say a lot about a lot of topics it doesn’t really have enough time to go into. Across four episodes that run about 22 to 25 minutes each without credits, the show attempts to explore U.S. intervention in the Middle East, relations between the U.S and China, the exploitation of veterans, warhawks and so much more. There’s also a decision regarding our main characters that may make sense if the show gets another season, but it has already pissed fans off and I don’t really see it making sense unless you connect many dots in a series not exactly known for having a strong story.

Overall, “Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness” is a half-decent translation of the games without much of a point to its existence. It’s not in step with the current era of “Resident Evil,” isn’t a particularly great introduction to it and fans will probably be turned off by the ending. While the story could be supplemented by further seasons and games, there is currently no real incentive for fans or newcomers to sink their teeth into it.

Will’s rating: 2.75/5

Courtesy Capcom

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Will Tarpley

Will Tarpley

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